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Boston Herald Jessica Heslam column

By Jessica Heslam, Boston Herald
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

July 26--SEABROOK, N.H. -- One of the New Hampshire accomplices of Pamela Smart -- who is vying for her freedom after serving nearly a quarter century behind bars for masterminding the 1990 murder of her husband -- told the Herald yesterday he's not so sure the former teacher-turned-seductress should be sprung from prison.

"Parts of me say yes, parts of me say no," said Raymond Fowler, now 42, who pleaded guilty for his role in the plot to kill Gregg Smart.

"Nobody wants to see anybody in jail for a long time," said Fowler, who was 18 when he helped carry out the cold-blooded crime, and has been a free man for nearly a decade.

"If she did this, and had her husband killed, then, you know, you should be in jail," he said.

Fowler's remarks come as Smart has bolted back into the news, featured in People magazine and an upcoming HBO documentary. Smart's family is renewing its campaign to get the former Granite State audio-visual school aide out of prison after 24 years.

Smart, 46, is serving life with no chance for parole for seducing her then-15-year-old lover, William "Billy" Flynn, to shoot her husband in a bogus burglary that was staged with the help of Flynn's three teen pals, including Fowler.

Fowler scoffed at Smart's long-standing claim that she's innocent.

"We're all innocent, ain't we? That's how it works. Everybody who goes to jail is innocent," he said.

The sensational, televised trial gripped the nation and inspired best-selling books and Hollywood movies, most famously, "To Die For," with Nicole Kidman.

Fowler was accused of trying to kill Gregg Smart in a botched first attempt a month before the actual murder. On the night of the slaying, Fowler was in the getaway car and cleaned the murder weapon. He pleaded guilty and was paroled in 2005.

Yesterday, a shirtless Fowler was at the end of a long dirt driveway, in front of the rundown Ranch-style home his late father built, chopping away at a camper with a crowbar. The youngest of Fowler's four children, his 4-year-old son, followed him around and played with his father's tools.

Fowler, who is missing a front tooth and whose hair is flecked with gray, didn't mince words when the conversation came to Flynn -- who is eligible for release next year.

"Let me ask you this. Did Billy Flynn serve enough time for his crime? He pulled the trigger on somebody. So you tell me," said Fowler.

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Patrick Randall, who held Gregg Smart down at knife point during the murder, is eligible for parole next year, while Vance Lattime Jr., who drove the getaway car and provided the gun, was paroled in 2005. Flynn, Randall and Lattime testified against Smart in return for plea deals.

Fowler, who is collecting disability insurance from a 1987 car accident, said he hasn't been in contact with Pam Smart or his three accomplices, nor does he blame her for his woes.

"I made my own decisions. She didn't make me do anything. The decisions I made, I did on my own," Fowler said. "I ain't going to put no blame on her. I took all the blame myself. I made the decisions I made. I made the choices I made and it put me where I was. I made the decision. She didn't make me do anything."

___

(c)2014 the Boston Herald

Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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